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Dining at the artist’s table

From Still Life to Food Design

Dining at the artist’s table – From Still Life to Food Design is the first exhibition at The Mesdag Collection to focus on Sientje Mesdag-van Houten (1834–1909) – the woman behind the famous marine artist Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915).

Food played an important role in Sientje’s life, both on canvas and on the plate. The food still lifes she painted and the festive dinners she organised at home with her husband Hendrik Willem are the starting point of this exhibition.

The exhibition looks at how Sientje and Hendrik Willem ate (the menu for the dinner to mark Sientje’s 70th birthday will be on show), and how food featured in Sientje’s work and in the couple’s art collection. All this will be juxtaposed with contemporary art in which food is central. Contemporary artists interpret the food still life in a variety of ways and experiment with issues relating to our eating culture. Dining at the artist’s table shows food still lifes from the end of the nineteenth century alongside contemporary art and food design, thus highlighting the changes that have occurred in the artistic treatment of this theme then, now and in the future.